Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Posted on Friday, 11.06.09
Opponents say they have votes to block U.S. tourism to Cuba
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Opponents of opening Cuba to American tourists are touting
a letter signed by 53 Democrats in the House of Representatives, saying
it shows that they have the votes to derail an effort to lift the ban on
travel to the island.

The letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., urges the House
leadership to maintain the current U.S. policy on Cuba, seeking to blunt
the momentum that proponents of lifting the travel ban have claimed
under a Democratic president and Democratic-led Congress.

"Any legislation that would seek to ease or lift sanctions … would
send a devastating message to Cuba's opposition movement and legitimize
an ailing dictatorship," the letter says. Among the signees are Reps.
Ben Chandler of Kentucky, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Brad Miller, Heath
Shuler and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Jim Marshall of Georgia and
Ike Skelton of Missouri.

Democratic Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who helped gather the
signatures, said the letter was aimed at showing that a number of
Democrats opposed easing sanctions against Cuba, a stance that's
traditionally associated with Republicans.

"We felt it was important to show that when push comes to shove, the
votes aren't there," Wasserman Schultz said. "The number of Republicans
opposed, combined with these Democrats, would seem to spell that it
would not be successful."

Proponents of lifting the decades-old travel ban, however, said they had
180 sponsors to repeal it and that the letter didn't change the outlook
for getting the bill passed.

"We're continuing to gather support," said Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass.,
who's sponsored one of several bills that seek to allow Americans to
travel to Cuba. "People are realizing it's simply anathema to common
sense to deny the American people the right to travel to Cuba when they
have the right to travel to North Korea, to Iran."

The issue – though not the legislation – will be the subject of a House
Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

With 218 votes needed for passage and 258 Democrats in the House,
pro-embargo lobbyist Mauricio Claver-Carone said the letter presented
supporters of lifting the ban with a math problem.

"Democrats alone cannot pass any legislation to unconditionally lift the
ban," he said. "There are some Republicans who support it, but they'd
require a larger number than have ever supported such changes in the past."

Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, one Republican who's championed easing
sanctions, said the letter suggested that backers of the embargo were
getting nervous.

"We're still working very hard on the other side," he said. "They
certainly see it slipping away."

The letter notes that President Barack Obama has lifted travel
restrictions for those with family members on the island but that he's
said he backs further sanctions against the island.

"It is our strong belief that any effort to upend the president's agenda
would undermine the goal that he shares with so many House Democrats:
fostering respect for justice and freedom in Cuba," the letter says.

"I think we need to see some signs from the Cubans," said Rep. Gary
Ackerman, D-N.Y., who signed the letter. "They've got to indicate
they're willing to go in the right direction."

Opponents say they have votes to block U.S. tourism to Cuba – Politics
AP – (6 November 2009)

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